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Title: A cognitive analysis of discourse processing in native and non-native speakers of English
Author: Fourali, Chahid El-Hak
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1987
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This study establishes a quantitative and qualitative difference in the pattern of text processing of native and non native speakers of English. The psychological nature of this difference is explored in five studies. They reveal the following influences. 1 - Non-native speakers are disadvantaged when text processing relies on mental operations which are based on schema representations of the language e.g. assumption, evaluation and interpretation. They are not disadvantaged when processing is based on mental operations more related r to ability like deducing and inferring. A test of these five mental processes was constructed especially for this investigation. 2 - The study also reveals that native speakers benefit almost twice as much from repeated presentations of the same text. The improvement, however, is limited to certain types of test items. 3 - The processing difference between native and non-native speakers of English was elucidated when analysed in terms of the current expert/novice paradigm. Factors and strategies which differentiate expert learners from novices were also seen to differentiate between native and non-native speakers of English. 4 - The contribution of ability to text processing is studied under a condition of varying relationship between past experience and learning content. The results show that learners' performance is quantitatively and qualitatively different when faced with schema related as against schema unrelated texts. A reciprocal function is observed when the non-schema relevant group compensates for lack of past experience by making use of deductive reasoning. On the other hand, learners in the schema relevant condition make minimum call upon this ability. 5 - The generality of the influence of cognitive group membership (e.g. identical native language, similarity of past experience) was tested by comparing the processing patterns of 'A' level students doing the same science subject (physics) with students doing an arts subject (history). The results support the hypothesis of differential approaches to learning associated with subject discipline. The findings are discussed in the context of positive attempts to improve the processing performance of students operating in a non-native language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available